Sunrises & Sunsets
Walking & Running
Wind & Rain
Feeling the wind and sun on your face
Playing in the snow
Jumping in a puddle
Landscapes & Cityscapes
Enjoying the beauty of your own town
Finding the place where your own everyday view becomes a work of art
Laughing & Smiling
Telling jokes to yourself or others
Praying & Meditating
Growing closer to God
Taking care of yourself
Singing & Dancing
Reading & Thinking
Talking & Listening
Hugging friends & family
Remembering good times
Imagining a wonderful future
Visiting with your neighbor
Helping those less fortunate
Everything can be taken from a [person] but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
–Dr. Viktor Frankl, psychologist and Holocaust survivor
Everywhere there are people oppressed, down-trodden, ill, or just sad. In this world, there are people who are not free or who do not have enough food to eat or who are trapped in war zones. And I worry about whether my clothes are flattering, my bulging waist line, my hair cut, my messy house, whether my very considerate husband is considerate enough when I come home from work cranky.
Sometimes I feel like my life is chock full of triviality and insignificant cosmetic details. Other times, I know the surface reflects a deep pool of growth. I, too, have been ill. I, too, have not had enough of something. For me, it was air–my allergies and their torturous effect on my sleep. Fortunately, I have great doctors and ways to combat this illness. But others do not have these benefits. Their treatments don’t work, they cannot be diagnosed, or they cannot afford some simple cure.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
–Dr. Viktor Frankl
But even with these things weighing on us, our struggles, the ways we feel trapped or are trapped, the ways some are figuratively and others literally under siege, we have some freedom. And most of us can enjoy these things that are free.
I have made a New Year’s resolution not to shop for things that can’t be bought in the grocery store. I needed a break from compulsive shopping and more moments enjoying the things that are free. I don’t feel free when I shop. I feel free when I write. I feel free when I breathe. I feel free with my family. I feel free when I read. When I shop, I am anxious, hold my breath, sweat, regret. I live in a consumption culture, and I am fighting the tide, swimming against the current.
We have the freedom to choose our attitude, and we have so many things to enjoy that are free.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
–Dr. Viktor Frankl